Infected Blood Transfusions
Many people within the UK in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, mostly haemophiliac patients, were given donated and sold blood that was obtained from people who were infected with Hepatitis C and also the HIV virus. An action group Tainted Blood have been campaigning for the recognition of wrongdoing towards victims and have also been pressing hard for compensation. This contaminated blood scandal has been stated in the Commons as “one of the biggest treatment disasters in the history of the NHS” and a former health minister called the blood contamination scandal a “criminal cover-up on an industrial scale”.
Infected blood scandal victims have the right to sue for compensation. If you believe you have been given a contaminated blood transfusion, contact our Clinical Negligence team to find out how to make a no win, no fee compensation claim.
Why did blood become contaminated?
The blood became contaminated during a rush to supply a growing demand after it was discovered that clotting factors could be taken from blood plasma and freeze dried into a powder to be used as factor concentrates to help treat pain and organ damage in haemophiliacs.
Pharmaceutical companies sourced blood from a number of locations and this included paying people to give blood, even those who were addicted to drugs. Blood donations were then unfortunately mixed together which increased the contamination risk.
How long was it known that blood was contaminated?
It is thought that officials knew as early as 1983 of the potential risks yet the NHS continued to supply contaminated blood and blood products in the UK.
A staggering 4,800 people were infected with Hepatitis C, a potentially fatal virus that causes damage to the liver. Of the 4,800 people, 1,200 were also infected with HIV which can cause AIDS. Sadly half of the people infected (2,400) with tainted blood have now died.
Compensation was offered as far back as 1991 in reaction to campaigners threatening to take the government to court. Through moral obligation rather than a legal requirement, the government offered an average of £60,000 each on the condition further legal claims were dropped. This was all before the true extent of the Hepatitis C infection was discovered. Even if you signed a waiver or received payment through a government scheme potentially you still have a right to bring about a claim.
Who can claim
- The receiver of the blood
- Executor of the estate if the receiver of the blood has passed away
- Secondary victims – family members who have been affected by the contaminated transfusion.
No win no fee service
If you have been affected by a contaminated blood transfusion, our solicitors could help you claim compensation on a no win, no fee basis. This means there are no fees to pay if you lose and no upfront costs to bring about your claim. Contact our Clinical Negligence team today to find out if you could claim compensation.